“The shepherd does not just feed the flock, he also protects them.”
In this day of great uncertainty as we seem to be teetering on the brink of either the full blown start of the great tribulation or a great awakening, (I believe we the church will be the deciding factor) it seems more urgent than ever that we are hearing the voice of God clearly and taking our cues from Him. As I wrote to you the other day, we must be careful to discern truth from lies, we must test the spirits. (1 John 4:1)
But, how do I know truth from lies? How do I let the Spirit bear witness to me?
It’s the very same way that you know you are saved! That you are born again! You just know, you can feel it, it’s a faith and a knowledge that comes from somewhere deep inside and it just becomes your reality. Because the Holy Spirit bore witness to your spirit.
That’s as deep down—I feel it in my gut, I feel it with every fiber of my being— good of a confirmation of truth as you are going to ever find.
You just know that you know. That’s the way you determine false prophets from real. Truth from lies, power from wishy washy.
Too put it bluntly, you feel it in your gut. God is love, his truth always stirs the soul and releases that feeling of– ‘yes, I want that, I need to hear that’– love put into words, a love that drives out all fear and leaves no room for doubt and anguish.
You need to learn to hear the Lord by pressing into Him regularly, I can only give you an example.
I Need To Hear You Lord!
Three weeks ago I was struggling mightily, as I’m sure many pastors across the nation were, trying to decide what to do about church in the face of national panic.
A week earlier I had never imagined that I would be in the situation, where I would be feeling the incredible pressure I was feeling to close the doors of the church, because Uncle Sam was suggesting it, and because public pressure was demanding it.
I mean, let’s get real here, that is “’All hail the Antichrist’, we are in the midst of the tribulation” kind of stuff. But here we are, and there I am, “Lord, what do I do?”
On the one hand it made sense, but then, the wiles of the enemy always do on the surface, and on the other hand it seemed to fly in the face of everything I believed as a bible preaching, red blooded American—’you cannot stop me, nor should I let you stop me, from gathering to worship my God the way I see fit!
It cannot just be that easy to shut the doors to every church in America overnight.
The barbarian in me was screaming no—I will not do it! And the co dependent I must please everyone and subject myself to the authorities gentle shepherd of the flock in me wanted to just say, ‘okay, whatever you think is best.’
Am I really putting people’s lives in danger? Do I give the enemy this victory and tell my flock they cannot gather to be fed and worship for a while? Which is more dangerous? And all of you have all the arguments on both sides running through your heads right now and some of you are screaming at me, this is real! People are dying!
And others are saying, where’s your faith? How could you just shut down church? This was my struggle, I could think of nothing else from that Sunday afternoon when everything seemed to hit the fan with this pestilence in this nation all at once, and Thursday Evening when I knew I had to make a decision to let you know.
Seriously, 2020 was supposed to be the good year after years of struggles and challenges—our year of rebuilding. But, God is still threshing, the refining continues, it’s just real hard to tell hell fire from refining fire sometimes.
So I sat down at my desk and prayed. “Lord, what do I do?” I started praying in the Spirit asking the Lord to speak to me as to what I should do.
Many things ran through my mind, conflicting thoughts that I suspected were just me. But there was a message starting to take shape through the noise. Now, my desk is covered with, among other things, pictures of my grandchildren and I am always glancing at them, as they are all around my computer screen.
So as I sat there ready to begin drafting an email for my little flock and as a word from the Lord was desperately trying to rise to the surface of my troubled mind, I glanced at the picture of my granddaughter “Doodles” as we call her, and I suddenly hear clearly, “Protect me”
Suddenly all other noise stopped and the phrase, “The shepherd does not just feed the flock, he also protects them.” Was in my thoughts. As soon as those words formed in my mind I was suddenly overcome with an intense feeling of Love, love for me from my Lord, and love from me for those the Lord has entrusted me to pastor—love for you.
There is no good way to describe it, the intensity of love that can only come from God brought me to tears and I knew in that moment, because I knew it was the Holy Spirit bearing witness to my spirit, as to what I was to do.
I needed to make an announcement that the church would be closed to the public for the next two week to protect the flock the Lord had entrusted me to pastor.
God is love
You might be saying, well sure, you love your grandkids so you just felt that. No, in that moment I was seeing the church through the eyes of Jesus.
I was seeing you, the children of god whom the Father loves more than we can ever fathom.
I knew this word was from God because of the love that overwhelmed my soul as it was spoken, because God is love.
I needed to protect my flock, my church family, from this virus in this way for now and I needed to protect the church, this way—for now.
Listen carefully church, we cannot let the enemy use this to turn the world against us. When Rome burned Nero blamed the Christians and they were fed to the lions in the Colosseum as the crowds cheered. If Rome is burning again here, we cannot give the spirit of the Antichrist cause to point fingers at us. He may anyway, but for now— we need to keep that fiery dart out of his quiver.
Those who have ears to hear, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
We will get through this the way God tells us to get through anything, one day at a time, trusting, listening and following.
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world
If you are feeling doubt and anguish right now, you are listening to the wrong voices.